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Innovations in Contemporary Indian Dance: From Religious and Mythological Roots in Classical Bharatanatyam

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Abstract

Contemporary Indian Dance as a new multi-layered dance genre unfolds at the intersection of Indian classical dance and other movement vocabularies such as modern dance, yoga, martial arts, and theatre techniques. This three-part essay traces a brief history of the “revival” of bharatanatyam in late 19th and early 20th century, then discusses the work of pioneers in Contemporary Indian Dance, Chandralekha, Anita Ratnam, and Hari Krishnan. Discussion includes a redefinition of the sacred, use of Indian goddesses and epic stories for contemporary relevance, as well as the subverting of stereotypes of gender, culture, and nation in Contemporary Indian Dance.

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